Well, yesterday’s stage left me with some question marks for some of the WT teams. Either they can’t see how those days usually pans out when the Maglia Rosa is borrowed or they were saving their matches for the stage today.
It is another day heading north!
So, we have a little kicker at the start. We can sit here and argue about the length and gradients of the climb, I think 5.2 km at 5.4% is the most precise. I think this is the section where the breakaway has the biggest chance of forming, including the descent.
If it does not, it likely will be without many strong climbers (read: the smaller climbers).
We have some nasty climbs at the end. First up is the Cappuchino. Narrow and bad roads. We have 1.6 km at 11.5% but it will feel much worse. The descend is easy in the first half, then they face some narrow hairpins.
Next up is the Monte delle Cesane. Irregular. Steepest at the bottom, 1.4 km at 12.4%. On a much better surface.
We then have a long way back to Cappuchini again. Most of it is downhill, which makes it easy to stay away.
This is the last time up the Cappuchini and the road home.
Not a lot of wind but we could see rain throughout the day once more. It will rain near the finish area all day, the roads will be wet.
How will the stage unfold?
Well, quite simple. GC men want to save ammo for the TT tomorrow. With a lot of riders deciding not to challenge for stage 7, this one should see a breakaway go up the road with a lot of strong riders. Just keep in mind, DSM want the jersey for as long as possible. Sitting inside 4-5 minutes and thinking you get a free pass – think again.
Conclusion: Another breakaway day.
McNulty – I will kick things of with the American. He is on Quick-Steps most wanted list, luckily – it is not really their job to control the stage tomorrow. He know sits 10 minutes behind Leknessund, that should give him a free card tomorrow. He was very eager getting in a move on stage 4 without being allowed. He has the power on the flat and he has the engine to finish it off.
Rota – form is good and he usually goes well on shorter, steeper climbs. The headwind will make it easier for him to stay in contention. He also has the power on the flat to get in the morning breakaway, as it will likely form on the flat.
Verona – not sure if he is ill or just not in form. He has the diesel to get in the breakaway on the flat and he has the engine to stay out front for a long time.
Healy – he gets on my list as we have shorter and steeper hills – not mountains. He was trying many times on stage 4, he is the new Guerreiro of EF. Hopefully, he manage to get in the break tomorrow. I would love to see him get a good result in the first week, as he may fade the longer into the race we get.
Matthews – after seeing him win the Mende-stage in Tour de France, this could be a good day for him. His climbing legs are looking mighty fine just now.
Cort – hopefully, the legs are better now after a week of racing. He seems almost forgotten by many already, he is a fantastic breakaway rider – having 25 wins to his name in total. He and Healy could have a strong duo.
Velasco – showed good form in the Ardennes. I think he will be the best man from Astana today.
Albanese – seems I write about him for any stage. He is just going very well and lost a lot of time yesterday. He will be up there again tomorrow. With shorter hills, his chances are better.
Roglic – if we somehow see a GC day, I think Roglic will outsprint the other GC men.
Evenepoel – if one man can change the outcome of this, it is the Belgian. Why not put everyone in pain so their legs are a bit sore for the TT?
⭐⭐⭐ Healy, Rota
⭐⭐ Velasco, Albanese, Matthews
⭐ Cort, Verona, Evenepoel, Roglic
Who will win?
I’ve got to stay stubborn and take a win for McNulty. A long solo.